This conference, 'Crossing the Disciplinary Boundaries of Physics', marks the end of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in physics to Niels Bohr in 1922.
Niels Bohr was an icon at the highest level of science and a courageous political influencer; He was also a confident young man. In 1911, at the age of 26, Niels Bohr wrote a one-line application to the Carlsberg Foundation:
"I hereby apply for a travel grant of 2.500 Kr for a one-year stay at a foreign university." A bold application, equivalent of more than 200.000 Euro had it been today.
Think for a moment; not a word about what he wants to do and where he wants to go. But almost with what we today could call a "quantum leap," he ended up with Rutherford in Manchester and began the development of the revolutionary quantum model of the atom.
This atomic model formed the basis for the tremendous blossoming of quantum theory ever after.
Today we know how critical quantum phenomena are. Most modern electronic components involve quantum theory; without quantum physics, cell phones, and computers would be impossible. This way, quantum physics makes up a significant fraction of the world's GDP, demonstrating basic science's fantastic potency.
The year before, in 1921, Niels Bohr established his renowned Institute for Theoretical Physics on Blegdamsvej in Copenhagen. All the leading physicists in the world rushed to the Institute and formed the foundations of quantum mechanics over just a few years. A unique site since its invention - then and now a wonderful playground for brilliant scientists of all nationalities.
Niels Bohr's vision for scientific organizations has become the benchmark, engrained in today's reflection about sound and productive scientific environments. As such Niels Bohr's Institute is defined by openness, equal opportunities, research freedom, and the courage to work on the profound questions!
It is a beautiful coincidence that in the year we celebrated Niels Bohr's Nobel Prize, a scientist in Denmark was again awarded a Nobel Prize. A rare occasion - 100 years later. Professor Morten Meldal received the Prize in chemistry last year for his revolutionary discovery of click chemistry. It is an honor for me to congratulate you on this fantastic achievement.
As we shall hear shortly, not only is click chemistry a seminal discovery in basic science, but it has also had a profound impact in other fields like medicine, drug discovery, and DNA research.
Everything seems beautifully connected: A celebration of a Nobel Prize that ends with another Nobel Prize – precisely 100 years later!
With this, I welcome you to this conference and present the honorary lecture by Nobel Laureate Professor Morten Meldal.